EFR - Reviews of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

Mon 4th – Sat 16th August 2014

reviews

Isobel Cockerell

at 00:58 on 13th Aug 2014

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I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change first premiered in the mid-nineties and this actually makes a lot of sense. The opening dialogue is dated and dull. Cliché after dating cliché reigns supreme. The trials of getting spruced for a date, quibbles about ‘who pays’ – a particularly snooze-worthy topic – and lame attempts at conversation at the restaurant table…we’ve heard it all before. But things, at length, pick up the pace, and the often shoddy script is salvaged by some really first-class acting.

The musical itself is a heady mixture of dialogue, conversational song and full-on belters. Don’t go for the music: the singing is at times shrill and off-pitch, although there are some impressive moments.

Laura Ellis is a particular stand out. Her shifts in character – as the storyline decrees – are natural and effortless; her facial expressions entrancing and utterly believable. Her monologue in the middle of the performance (a diatribe about being a divorcee left for an older, fatter woman: in other words, the ultimate shame) is the absolute highlight of the show. Her shrill indignation is perfectly pitched, and her desperate need of an other half is real and visceral.

The story gradually follows the trials of the average American couple, from dating to death. What begins as eye-rollingly predictable becomes original and quite moving, and the actors carry the shifts in tone and the age of their characters admirably.

Perhaps the most poignant scene of all is a portrayal by Anthony Orme and Natasha Proffitt of an old couple at a funeral wake, who have both lost their spouses. Their tentative, flirtatious, dark and witty conversation is beautifully done, and director Orme, who plays the old man here, is especially captivating.

I’m not convinced the play works entirely in a 21st-century context, but this cast certainly did their best. Whilst their accents were pretty much faultless (Orme’s Bronx vowels were particularly realistic), the feeble American humour often just doesn’t raise enough of a laugh. The musical is often reminiscent of Family Guy in style, but not in tone or wit. Moments of genius are suppressed by predictability. Nevertheless the whole performance makes for a fairly entertaining experience – just don’t expect anything cutting edge.

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Rachel Mfon

at 10:15 on 13th Aug 2014

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It's your first date, a scent of admiration, desperation and perspiration fills the air. What runs through your mind at this moment? Or better yet, what are they thinking? Do they hear wedding bells or alarms? Do they see the sparkle in your eyes or just the spinach in your teeth? If you've never fretted about such questions before, a viewing of I Love You, You're Perfect, Change Now, will certainly change that. Now You Know Theatre company proves that this two decades old, Off-Broadway musical hit can satisfy audiences from New York to Edinburgh. 

The Musical comedy travels from the beginning of time, from a hilariously cynical portrayal of Adam and Eve to awkward conversations between lovesick teens and even more awkward sex within monotonous marriages. Whilst the play presents the disillusionment of dating and marriage, it is ironically Disneyesque.

The melodramatic performance is served with a generous amount of cheese, reminding us of the time we had to sit through High School Musical with our younger siblings (and then that time we watched it alone and then that time we watched it again and again.) The characters move out of their enchantment into reality, breaking the fourth wall to tell us that they too, are not completely sold by these sordid rom-com traditions.

The comic performance takes a bold step out of Disney land and attempts to enter into more vulgar and racy territory - but this attempt can only be described as a timid tip-toe. With some talk of orgasms and g-spots, the audience revels in the raciness of the show. The performance is just about saved from being swept away by overtly sensual gestures which would undoubtedly compromise the innocence and charm, though if one of the suburban teen characters,(played by Natasha Proffitt), thrusted her hips any harder the production would be treading dangerously on a rather thin line.

Overall, the cast commit to their roles as puberty-stricken teens and parents. The awkwardness of their relationships as adolescents is plastered over their faces for all to see, point and laugh at. If you want to be simply and effortlessly entertained, find the cast of Now You Know Theatre company. Their larger than life performances are hard to miss.

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